The annual Oscars will be awarded on Sunday night. But we at the Talk of Fame Network are going to open up the voting this week for the greatest football movie of all time.
Have you seen them all? Which one was the best? We’re asking our listeners and readers to tell us. Here are your eight options:
The Blind Side. The story of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American boy in Memphis who attended 11 different schools in his first nine years of schooling before being adopted by a white family, providing his life some stability. Oher went on to become an All-America football player at Mississippi and a first-round NFL draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2009.
Brian’s Song. The story of Brian Piccolo, who was the NCAA’s leading rusher at Wake Forest in 1964 but signed as a college free agent with the Chicago Bears. There he became rookie roommates and, eventually, best friends with Chicago’s first-round draft pick, Gale Sayers. They started in the same backfield, but in his fifth season, Piccolo was diagnosed with cancer and died less than a year later. The story documents their friendship.
Everybody’s All-America. A film rumored to be about former LSU All-American Billy Cannon. Dennis Quaid played Gavin Grey, the “Grey Ghost.” The movie tells the tale of an athlete’s tumble from the heights of college football to the depths of a professional career that evaporates through age and injuries. His personal decline continues with a failed marriage and failed business ventures after football.
Friday Night Lights. Billy Bob Thornton starred as Gary Gaines, the head coach of the Odessa (Texas) Permian Panthers. The movie chronicles the pressures of winning at a high school where state championships are expected. A key story line was running back Boobie Miles, the highly-recruited workhorse tailback who tore his ACL and did not play in the state title game, a loss to Dallas Carter.
Heaven Can Wait. Warren Beatty stars as a quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, who are Super Bowl-bound. But he has an accident that leaves him near death and an angel takes his body to heaven. But he’s not supposed to die yet — so he is sent back to earth in the body of a millionaire, who buys the Rams with hopes he can quarterback the team in the Super Bowl. Bizarre plot but entertaining nonetheless.
Horsefeathers. The original football movie filmed in 1932 starring the Marx Brothers. The president of Huxley University (Groucho Marx) hires a couple of nincompoops (Chico and Harpo Marx) to help the school win a football game against its archrival. It’s is slapstick comedy at its best.
Knute Rockne, All-American. Pat O’Brien stars as Rockne, the legendary Notre Dame coach, and Ronald Reagon as George Gipp, the Gipper. The story documents how Rockne started off teaching at Notre Dame but moved into coaching and built the Fighting Irish into a national power. Gipp died at a young age, and the highlight of the movie comes when Rockne implores his team “to win one for the Gipper.”
North Dallas Forty. Based on a best-selling novel by former Dallas Cowboy Pete Gent, the movie chronicles the Dallas Bulls, a team that plays hard on and off the field. The movie stars Mac Davis as quarterback Seth Maxwell and Nick Nolte as his aging receiver, Phil Elliott, in the 1970s. Elliott is addicted to pain killers and struggles to hang on to his career by playing by his own set of rules.
Remember the Titans. Denzel Washington starred as Herman Boone, an African-American who became head football coach at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va. He coached a team that become racially integrated for the first time that season, and the film explored how he dealt with the pressure cooker that was his first season. Based on a true story, the movie chronicles the friendships forged in a championship season.
Rudy. The story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, a blue-collar kid from Illinois who dreamed of playing football at Notre Dame, went to junior college to get his grades up, walked on the football team and finally got to play in the final game of his senior season. He played one defensive snap in that game against Georgia Tech – the final snap of the game – and sacked the quarterback. He was carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates. Also based on a true story.